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                                                       Calendar No. 726
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     108-367

======================================================================



 
      ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2004

                                _______
                                

               September 28, 2004.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2181]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2181) to adjust the boundary of Rocky 
Mountain National Park in the State of Colorado, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    On page 2, line 4, strike ``121/60,467, dated September 12, 
2003'' and insert ``121/80,154, dated June 2004''.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 2181 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to enter into a land exchange at Rocky Mountain 
National Park in the State of Colorado.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Rocky Mountain National Park was established by Congress on 
January 26, 1915. Encompassing approximately 266,000 acres, the 
spectacular high alpine scenery and abundant wildlife of Rocky 
Mountain National Park attracts over 3 million visitors 
annually.
    In the 1970's, hikers and rock climbers began using a 
private access road near Estes Park, Colorado to reach the Twin 
Owls trailhead that is located just inside the park boundary 
and adjacent to the MacGregor Ranch. Although the MacGregor 
Ranch is located inside the authorized boundary of the national 
park it remains in private ownership. Over the last 20 years 
the popularity of the Twin Owls trailhead has grown steadily 
and in recent years overflow parking from the trailhead has 
negatively impacted the ranch. The increase in traffic on the 
one-lane access road has affected the character of the historic 
homestead by diminishing the quality of the historic scene that 
visitors to the ranch come to experience.
    For several years the National Park Service (NPS) and the 
MacGregor Ranch have been working to find a solution to the 
traffic and parking problems. In 2003, based on public 
participation and an environmental assessment, the NPS decided 
to relocate the Twin Owls parking lot to the east end of the 
MacGregor Ranch, a location well away from the historic 
homestead. Construction of a new access road and a larger 
parking lot for the trailhead is planned at the new location.
    In order to enforce NPS regulations on the new access road 
and at the new trailhead the land must be located within the 
park boundary. Under S. 2181 the MacGregor Trust will convey 
5.9 acres of land to the NPS to facilitate the construction and 
management of the new facilities. In exchange, the MacGregor 
Trust will acquire up to 70 acres from the NPS to be used for 
the purpose of growing hay and cattle. The Secretary of the 
Interior will reserve a conservation easement on the 70 acres 
that is transferred to the MacGregor Trust. S. 2181 is 
necessary to authorize the land exchange and to adjust the park 
boundary to include the newly acquired lands.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 2181 was introduced by Senator Campbell on March 9, 
2004. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' 
Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 2181 on 
July 15, 2004. At the business meeting on September 15, 2004, 
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 2181, 
as amended, favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an open 
business session on September 15, 2004, by a unanimous voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
2181, if amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

    During its consideration of S. 2181, the Committee adopted 
a technical amendment. The amendment corrects a map reference.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 entitles this bill the ``Rocky Mountain National 
Park Boundary Adjustment Act of 2004.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 3(a)(1) directs the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) to accept conveyance of all right, title and 
interest in and to non-Federal parcels in exchange for the 
Federal parcels, as described in section 2.
    Paragraph (2) directs the Secretary to complete the land 
exchange not later than 60 days after an offer is made.
    Paragraph (3) directs the Secretary to reserve a permanent 
easement to the Federal parcel for the purposes of protecting, 
preserving and enhancing the conservation values of the Federal 
parcel.
    Subsection (b)(1) directs the Secretary to adjust the 
boundary of the Park to reflect the acquisition of the non-
Federal parcels described in section 2.
    Paragraph (2) directs the Secretary to manage the non-
Federal parcels as part of the park in accordance with laws and 
regulations.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

S. 2181--Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary Adjustment Act of 2004

    S. 2181 would direct the National Park Service (NPS) to 
convey to a private landowner about 70 acres of federal land 
within the boundaries of the Rocky Mountain National Park in 
exchange for about 6 acres of property adjacent to the park. 
Once acquired by the NPS, the new property would be added to 
the national park and developed as an access site.
    Based on information provided by the NPS, CBO estimates 
that implementing S. 2181 would cost about $1 million over the 
next year or two, subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds. This amount would be used to complete the required land 
exchange and construct facilities such as a parking lot, access 
road, and a rest area on the newly acquired property. Enacting 
S. 2181 would not affect revenues or direct spending. For this 
estimate, CBO assumes that the properties to be exchanged would 
be determined by NPS to be roughly equal in value.
    S. 2181 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would have no significant impact on the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2181.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 2181.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On June 24, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 2181. These 
reports had not been received when this report was filed. The 
testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at the 
Subcommittee hearing on S. 2181 follows:

 Statement of A. Durand Jones, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                    U.S. Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2181, a bill to 
adjust the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park in the 
State of Colorado. The Department supports S. 2181 with a 
technical amendment to update the map reference. This bill 
would direct the Secretary of the Interior to proceed with a 
land exchange involving Federal land within Rocky Mountain 
National Park and private lands owned by the MacGregor Ranch, 
located near Estes Park, Colorado. This exchange would allow 
the park to address significant access issues to improve public 
access to the park while protecting the private property rights 
of landowners. The Secretary would receive title to three 
parcels of vacant land encompassing approximately 6 acres. Two 
of the parcels are located within the authorized boundary of 
Rocky Mountain National Park. This legislation would authorize 
a boundary adjustment to include the third parcel within the 
park boundary. In exchange for the three parcels, the Secretary 
would convey up to 70 acres of Federal land to the MacGregor 
Ranch. As a condition of the land exchange, the Secretary would 
reserve a perpetual easement on the Federal parcel for the 
purposes of protecting, preserving and enhancing the 
conservation values of the Federal parcel. The parcel conveyed 
to the MacGregor Ranch will remain within the authorized 
boundary of the park, and will be used as an irrigated hay 
meadow and for grazing cattle.
    Rocky Mountain National Park was established by Congress on 
January 26, 1915, for the benefit and enjoyment of the people 
of the United States and to protect the natural conditions and 
scenic beauties of this portion of the Rocky Mountains. The 
park currently encompasses approximately 266,000 acres and has 
some of the most beautiful mountain scenery to be found 
anywhere in our country. Each year the park draws over 3 
million visitors.
    The MacGregor Ranch was homesteaded in 1873, which predates 
the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park. In 1917, 
shortly after the establishment of the national park, the 
National Park Service built a residence for park employees just 
inside the park boundary, with access via a one lane dirt road 
which crosses the MacGregor Ranch for about \3/4\ of a mile. 
This access was provided with the permission of the MacGregor 
family, but no easement, right-of-way, or other legal document 
was ever recorded.
    The MacGregor Ranch is listed on the National Register of 
Historic Places and is owned by the charitable Muriel MacGregor 
Trust. The mission of the Trust is to support youth education 
through the preservation and interpretation of the historic 
buildings and educational tours of this working high mountain 
cattle ranch. In 1980, the boundary of Rocky Mountain National 
Park was amended to include much of the MacGregor Ranch, and in 
1983 the National Park Service purchased a conservation 
easement covering 1,221 acres of the ranch. While much of the 
ranch is located within the authorized boundary of the national 
park, it remains private property.
    In the early 1970's, hikers and rock climbers began using 
the access road through the MacGregor Ranch to reach a small 
parking lot located just inside the park boundary. Known as the 
Twin Owls trailhead, the popularity of the area has grown 
steadily. In recent years, overflow parking has negatively 
impacted the ranch, and traffic on the one-lane access road has 
negatively affected the character of the historic homestead and 
has diminished the quality of the historic scene that visitors 
to the ranch come to experience.
    For several years, the National Park Service and the 
MacGregor Ranch have been working to find a solution to the 
traffic and parking problems. Several Environmental Assessments 
have been prepared to examine various alternatives and gather 
public input. In 2003, based on public input and an 
Environmental Assessment, the National Park Service decided to 
relocate the Twin Owls parking lot to the east end of the 
MacGregor Ranch, some distance away from the historic 
homestead. A new access road and a larger trailhead parking lot 
that can accommodate 80 to 100 cars will be built at the new 
location.
    So that the rules and regulations governing Rocky Mountain 
National Park can be enforced at the new trailhead and along 
the access road, the land needs to be incorporated into the 
national park. To accomplish this, the MacGregor Trust and the 
National Park Service have agreed to a land exchange. The three 
parcels acquired by the National Park Service will be used for 
the development of the new parking lot and access road. The 
conveyance of up to 70-acres of Federal land to the MacGregor 
Ranch with a conservation easement will ensure that the 
property is used solely for ranching.
    No appraisals have been done on the properties to be 
included in the land exchange; however, the National Park 
Service believes that the lands are of comparable value. It is 
estimated that the cost of the exchange could be approximately 
$13,000, which includes an environmental site assessment and 
other closing costs.
    The estimated development cost for the parking lot, access 
road, vault toilet, connector trail and related improvements is 
$800,000. Rocky Mountain National Park has already programmed 
the funds for this development from 80% Fee Demonstration and 
National Parks Pass revenues. Annual operating costs are not 
expected to increase as the new development is replacing 
existing facilities and employs sustainable design principles.
    That concludes my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman. I would 
be pleased to answer any questions you or members of the 
committee may have.
    Proposed Amendment:
    Page 2, line 4 strike ``121/60,467, dated September 12, 
2003.'' and insert ``121/80,154, dated June 2004.''.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 2181 as ordered 
reported.